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The Republican faithful of south King County wrapped up the straw poll amid good turnout.

Erin Sitterley, a precinct officer for the McMicken Heights neighborhood of SeaTac, said she was alone in the 2008 presidential caucuses.

This year, Sitterley was joined by three others: a Ron Paul true believer and two somewhat reluctant Romney voters.

Sitterley, who ran for SeaTac City Council last year, said John McCain didn’t excite GOP voters, but the prospect of beating Obama does.

“He’s trashing our country and dragging along an entire generation who will continue trashing our country,” said Sitterley, a home-health-care worker who backed Santorum in the caucus straw poll.

Across the round cafeteria table in Tyee High School cafeteria, David Dukes, a 49-year-old finish carpenter wearing long gray underwear under his Ron Paul t-shirt, argued that Paul was the only candidate who could beat Obama. “He’s the only one who can bring along Democrats, independents, liberals, libertarians and Republicans,” said Dukes.

Larry Hughes, a 71 year-old retired IT professional with a neat, thin gray moustache, shook his head. He recalled believing that Barry Goldwater was a much-need change agent, as Dukes sees Paul now, only to see Goldwater badly beaten.

“I see Goldwater all over again,” said Hughes.  Romney is the only candidate who can be Obama, he said.

“You have to stand on principal,” Dukes said. “The Republican party has lost it’s way in politics. They used to stand for small government. What do they stand for now? Wars and spending money.”

“Libertarians never elected anybody but Jesse Ventura!” Hughes said.

“That’s just the media talking,” said Dukes.

“I hate that we’re hamstrung by ‘electability,'” said Sitterley to Hughes. “You keep saying Ron Paul can’t win. Give him traction, and support, and money, and maybe he can.”

But on the straw poll, the majority of the table went for Romney.

Across the cafeteria, precincts from Kent and Burien, with voters elbow to elbow around the cafeteria tables, favored Santorum. A precinct from Normandy Park went for Romney. A few other precincts liked Paul.

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